Monday, January 30, 2017

#twoundertwo - a review

We are now in the phase of Dalton's age just being counted in years (as in, stranger in the grocery store says "How old is he?", the answer is 2, not 28 months because that's just ridiculous). However, for the purposes of this blog post, I will note that he is 2 years and 4 months, which also means that I have been off the #twoundertwo hashtag for a full four months, and it's time to reflect on it.

In my experience, being pregnant with a baby (at the time, he seemed like a toddler, but when I look back at pictures now, he was still a baby!) leads to comments.
Omg teeny little Dalton and Royce in my belly!

These are including, but not limited to:
  • Was it planned?
  • You're going to have your hands full!
  • You must be crazy.

Of course, all pregnant women get comments, but these were the variety that I heard (in addition to the nonstop oh it must be a girl! do you hope it's a girl?? but that's a whole other post). I can't say they bothered me, because I totally would have agreed with them in my very recent past. I thought people who had kids close together were insane. Didn't they want a break for their bodies? One of my friends who has a child very close in age to Dalton planned to try for a second when her son turned one. I specifically told her she was nuts and might have even shaken my head reading her message. This was while we were both still pumping at work, and I know I said something like "but your boobs need a break!". The thought of another pregnancy, delivery, year of pumping at all made me sick. 

My siblings and I are all 3 years apart, my niece and nephew are three years apart, and that just always seemed like the norm for me (and Eric is ten years older than his only sibling!). We thought maybe we would start trying a little after Dalton turned two. AKA....around now. I ended up getting pregnant with my little #impulsebaby two weeks before my aforementioned "insane" friend got pregnant with her second. 

So what changed? We realized that our reasons for waiting were largely because we didn't want to pay for two in daycare at the same time (which we still don't, no one does, it's stupid). And we just wanted another baby sooner rather than later. We aren't getting any younger, and we wanted to just keep it moving with the baby stage before we got used to sleeping and stuff again. Getting pregnant with Dalton took a year, so getting pregnant right away with Royce was a bit of a surprise.

The best surprise, really.
Obviously things constantly change with kids, but so far I really love the small age gap. Dalton adjusted so well to Royce. He wasn't talking yet when he was born, so who knows if it was his age or personality or whatever behind that, but seeing them together constantly melts my heart. I know this sounds corny but they really have had a special bond since day one. Dalton is NOT interested in babies in the slightest, but he is constantly checking in on Royce, bringing him toys, trying to share food with him, wanting to play with him - it's just the sweetest. While there is a huge difference between a newborn and a 19 month old, there isn't much of a difference between, say, a 7 and an 8 year old, and I'm really hoping they remain close and always have a playmate.

Hugging his little bro. I melt.

From a parent standpoint: Of course adding a new baby to the family was a huge chaotic change. But I don't know of anyone with kids of any age that would describe it any differently. I think my mom summed it up when she was telling me about a time she was watching my niece and nephew. She said she forgot how long it took to take both kids anywhere, even somewhere simple like the grocery store, and she said "oh,but of course you know all about how long it takes". I thought about it, and realized I actually don't know. It's more like on those rare times I go somewhere by myself, I'm shocked and confused about how fast and simple it is. The flurry of coats and shoes and sippy cups and excessive packing the diaper bag and false starts when someone poops right after you put them in the car seat - that's just normal life for me now. So yes, while having two very young, needy kids in diapers, still at the age where they need constant help and supervision might seem wild and busy and even insane to an outsider looking in, it just feels normal at this point.

Believe it or not, Royce is in that boat at Dalton's request.

Would having an age gap of 3 or 4 years be easier? I have no idea. I haven't experienced having a 3 or 4 year old child, so it's not like I have a basis of comparison. I know I feel like I already forgot so much baby stuff. What milestones should he be hitting at this age? When am I supposed to give them water? Can they have IB Profin yet? When are they allowed to have blankets in the crib? Etc, etc, and I can only imagine it would be even worse the longer I had waited. 

So far, the hardest parts for me have been potty training and baby mobility. Trying to potty train Dalton with an infant around was the first time I was ever like "ok, I can see why people wait to have a second baby".

No matter how many toys are around, Royce always goes for the potty.

Royce becoming mobile has also been a real game changer. This summer, while I was still off work and home with both of them on my own, things felt extremely doable. My friends joke that for the first few months of Royce's life, all they ever saw was the top of his head because he essentially lived in the Ergo. I could throw him in there, and go about life as usual with a toddler. As long as he got milk and diaper changes, he was good and I was free to expend pretty much all my mental energy on Dalton. Now, that's not the case.

He's crawling everywhere, pulling up on everything, obsessed with eating solids, and overall just a lot more like an actual real person. Of course that's wonderful and fun and amazing, but it's also more challenging. And Dalton may be over two now, but he doesn't require any less from me (and really if anything, more). 

So, would I recommend it? Overall, it gets a two thumbs up for me.

Because adorable.

Here's a handy little guide in case anyone out there is considering this idea.

#twoundertwo may be for you if you:

  • are comfortable with your house never being clean - like, never
  • are able to embrace the idea that coffee is now your sleep
  • enjoy making diaper changes more of an assembly line event
  • hate money
  • don't feel particularly attached to your sanity
  • consider screen time quotas to be loose guidelines - very loose
  • have a mom tribe that will swoop in and save you by any means necessary when you just CAN'T anymore
  • have a partner that is 150% IN

  • optional but recommended: a minivan - sure, it looks "uncool", but if you are considering #twoundertwo and still think you are going to look or act even remotely cool or don't want to be too "mom-ish", your expectations are not in line with reality.
In summary - #twoundertwo is the best.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

That time Royce became a new baby

As always, my vacation from work flew by in a blaze of glory. Way too fun, way too fast. I've started to accept my own limitations and didn't have too many grand plans of "getting things done". My main goal was to curl up every morning in my pajamas, with a warm blankie and a hot cup of coffee, which I accomplished. Truly, one of my greatest joys in life is just waking up without an alarm clock and being able to enjoy my coffee in the morning without being in a frantic rush to get out the door. Sometimes I even had a snugly baby with me. My body is pretty conditioned to waking up before my kids since that's how I get ready for work, but to me it's not so much the time I wake up, it's just not waking up to that damn alarm to start the race against the clock trying to get to work on time. And now I've just written a whole paragraph about it, but I stand by it because that's how much I love it.

He worked hard for this 2016 New Year's Eve paper plate award.

Royce's sleep was pretty terrible over break, but it was for a great reason: HE LEARNED ALL THE THINGS. Seriously, our first day back, our daycare was like did you drop off a different baby? In just about a week, Royce learned to:

  • officially crawl with his belly off the ground
  • pull up to standing
  • clap
  • lift the flaps in Where's Spot (literally a week on this one, he got the book for Christmas and was lifting the flaps by New Years #genius)
He keeps getting stuck under chairs.
That's huge. Not to mention he's getting a tooth, he's in Wonder Weeks leap 6, and also sort of learned to wave and use a sippy cup (sort of because he's not consistent with either yet). This child's whole world has changed. It just blows my mind how much he can suddenly do. All he wants in life now is to figure out how to get to his feet and all times. 

I can't get over how big he looks.

If he's not doing that, he's working on increasing his crawling speed. 

That one time it was 65 degrees in December.
What's been exciting with Dalton is as his verbal skills continue to expands, he can tell us more and more about what's on his mind. Lately he's been talking about past events, which is really cool because I've never gotten a glimpse into his memory before. Just a few days ago I was putting away some Christmas stuff, and he saw the mug he drank his hot chocolate out of on Christmas Eve, and right away said hot chocolate. Typical stuff that's boring to everyone but the kid's parents.

I actually wasn't lazy, we went out and did something fun with the kids every day.

My dad got us annual passes to the National Aquarium for Hanukkah! Dalton was so excited and said "see fish!" the whole drive there. 

It's nearly impossible to get a good picture of a toddler and actual fish.
Other highlights included the playground, science center, and playdates with friends. 

We're pretty sure the highlight for Royce was going to Qdoba for lunch. No joke, this baby ate more than his big brother. He just kept going and would scream like a little raptor if his plate was empty.

You would probably assume that, being parents of young children, we did nothing to celebrate New Year's Eve. But you would be wrong. We celebrated the hell out of it. 

Our couple BFFs, fellow young child parents, had us over to ring in 2017.

As always, Dalton's side eye is on point. 

 I rescinded my moratorium on travel of any kind for one night (they are local but my main concern with travel was that Dalton doesn't sleep anywhere but his crib). Since they had recently moved their toddler to a big boy bed, his crib was still available. Dalton actually did great! He was exhausted from all the fun, and I think he's old enough now to understand when we explain why he's sleeping somewhere new. He passed out at 8 and we didn't hear from him until morning. 

Once the kids were asleep, we had a wild night of Heads Up, watching Times Square coverage, a few glasses of wine and in bed by 10:30. Winning. No pictures because...who wants pictures of adults? We didn't bother after the cute subject matter was gone.

I did a ton of working out, which for me at this juncture of my life means more than 20 minutes almost every day. The weather was nice so I got out for several runs. On New Year's Day I was going to just be lazy, but Dalton started yelling "mommy work out, mommy floor!". Then he kindly helped me through my pushups (which I do on my knees, I'm weak).

So helpful.
Sunday night at midnight I woke up freezing to death, with a high fever and tons of pain - mastitis again! Yay! Of course it couldn't hit while I was just screwing around doing nothing all week, it had to wait until it was almost time to go back to work. Antibiotics are tiny little miracles though and while I basically was dead to the world Monday, I was miraculously cured by the time school resumed Tuesday. Royce is now 8 months old, so can I please just get through these next 4 months without boob trauma???

I didn't have any specific health related new year's resolutions, but I was vaguely trying to join in the new year new me stereotype and just kind of stop eating crap all day long and that kind of stuff. So far, it's been a joke. While my mastitis was better, I was still dragging until it really left my system. More importantly, readjusting to work after 12 days off is HARD. It's so exhausting to work all freaking day long and a teething baby who wants us to watch him practice crawling all night (because new separation anxiety) didn't help. I still ate a lot of crap and barely exercised all week. I'm back in action now though. I'm leaving for yoga in half an hour, working on a healthy meal plan, and don't intend on being second last in this week's FitBit competition. Bring it.